PHILADELPHIA >> Too much practice may have given Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles a pain in the neck.
Foles has been idle for three straight practices. He explained Tuesday there was enough discomfort in his neck for doctors to order “a couple of tests.” Foles had tendinitis in his right elbow last summer, and three years ago, suffered a season-ending fractured left collarbone.
“Muscle spasms, right here,” Foles said, touching the right side of his neck. “I know all you are wanting to go in every which direction. It’s going to be fine. Just being smart with it.”
Though Foles thinks the spasms came out of nowhere, with Carson Wentz limited in practices, he may have gotten a few more snaps than planned.
“Sometimes you throw so much that some things get aggravated,” Foles said. “It’s that time of year where you just try to be smart. I’m in the training room a lot. We’ve got a good regimen going on. I want to be out there every day but right now we’re just focusing on getting this thing healthy and I’ll be out there as soon as I can.”
With Foles and Wentz less than 100 percent healthy, Nate Sudfeld is locking down the first-team snaps in 11-on-11 work.
Sudfeld performed better Monday than Tuesday, the first-team defense having figured him out. The timing of the offense was dreadfully off Tuesday. Barring a dramatic change in Foles, Sudfeld will start Thursday when the Eagles open the preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.
Head coach Doug Pederson anticipates a limited role for Wentz again next week. Wentz is hopeful of being cleared for an expanded role in practice in two weeks, providing the doctors see enough healing in the surgically repaired ACL and LCL ligaments in his left knee.
“I think next week is going to be the same type of routine,” Wentz said. “And then I’ll kind of keep talking with the doctors and the coaches and kind of make a plan, as we go.”
Wentz looks solid in 7-on-7 situations. He doesn’t think he needs to play in the preseason to be good to go in the Sept. 6 regular season opener, which remains his goal.
“I don’t think it’s a big hurdle for me,” Wentz said. “Again, I’d love to be out there on Thursday. I’d love to play every day. But for me personally I think I’ll be fine if I don’t get out there in preseason.”
Foles, time and again, made it clear the Eagles were being conservative with his injury. If the season opener was fewer than four weeks away, his participation might be different.
“As a football player, as an athlete, you’re always going to have nicks and bruises and different things going on that you play through,” Foles said. “That’s part of being an athlete. There’s also a time for everything. This is a time when you want to be smart. I want to be out there and play but I also know what’s best for the team, and it’s getting to be 100 percent.”
Meanwhile Sudfeld and Joe Callahan, the Wesley (Del.) product by way of Absecon, N.J., get the unexpected chance of training camp. It always help to get on film.
“It’s a great opportunity for Nate and Joe to go out there and play,” Foles said. “I think Nate has the potential and ability to be a starter in this league. He continues to grow just every single day.”
Pederson put a number on how many preseason snaps the starters would need to be sharp for the season.
If the substitutes play the final game, the starters would need to average 22 plays in three games to be in the range set by the head coach.
“Honestly, if I can get 65, 70 plays within three games or so, that’s good work,” Pederson said. “That’s good solid work with the starters. Still got to maintain an edge, obviously. It’s hard, though. It’s harder in a preseason game because they know they’re only going to play X-amount of plays and then they’re coming out.
“We have to try and maintain that edge into the Atlanta game.”
The Eagles start the season against the Falcons at the Linc.
The Eagles are all-in on the second-chance drawings offered by the Pa. State Lottery.
Game tickets, private event tickets and autographed merchandise will be awarded in the second-chance drawings, witch each qualifying ticket submitted worth five entries. Non-winning entries are carried over to the next drawing.
The entry deadlines are Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 8. Winners will be announced at www.palottery.com.
“We are very excited about the Pennsylvania Lottery’s new Fast Play Second-Chance Drawing as it will bring our fans closer to the game through unique and amazing experience prizes,” Eagles vice president of corporate partnerships Brian Napoli said in a statement. “The PA Lottery has created an opportunity that will surely appeal to football fans throughout the Keystone State, all while benefiting older Pennsylvanians.”